Ace raider Deepak Hooda’s magnificent effort could not fetch Jaipur Pink Panthers a much-needed win but aided in breaking its five-match losing streak in the Pro Kabaddi League at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.
Hooda picked up 14 points even as Panthers’ encounter with Haryana Steelers ended in a nail-biting 32-32 tie.
Hooda gathered seven points as his side reached a comfortable position, through an 'all-out', at 13-7 in the first half. Sandeep Dhull and Nilesh Salunke also contributed valuable tackle points.
However, Vikas Kandola lived upto his reputation to spoil Panthers’ hard work at one go. Three minutes before the breather, the agile Kandola moved out of the Panthers’ clutches to claim Santhapanaselvam, A. Elavarasan and Sandeep Dhull and grab five points. Steelers had Pink Panthers 'all-out' and jumped to a 16-14 lead.
Steelers also benefited from Prashanth Rai’s raids to lead 18-14 at half-time. It inched ahead after the break as Ravi Kumar and Sunil tackled with purpose.
The dashing Hooda collected points regularly to keep Panthers in the hunt.
Panthers made a blunder when it unsuccessfully challenged a decision to award a bonus point to Steelers and gave away one more to trail 23-27.
Panthers performed another all-out on Steelers and went on to regain the lead. But, Steelers equalised in the closing seconds to share the spoils.
-Rinku Narwal's last-gasp winner hands Bengal victory over U Mumba-
Rinku Narwal led a last minute 'super-tackle' to help Bengal Warriors post a slim 29-26 win over U Mumba in the other contest of the evening. This was Warriors' second consecutive victory at home.
Arjun Deshwal of U Mumba started the match with a 'super-raid', where he bagged a bonus point and sent Bengal Warriors' Rinku Narwal and Mayur Shivtarkar back to the bench. Bengal's captain Maninder Singh and Sukesh Hedge spearheaded their team's as both teams exchanged blows. The first tackle-point of the match arrived at the 7-5 stage for Bengal when Rinku Narwal and Baldev Singh combined to floor Arjun Deshwal down.
The match continued to play out as a raid-fest as Bengal inflicted the first 'all-out' on Mumba to take a 13-7 lead. However, a late first-half surge from Deshwal ensured that his side scored the first tackle point of the night in the 20th minute and he topped it off with a second 'super-raid' to bridge the gap to three points at the half-way mark.
The second half saw the Warriors' defence come alive. Nabibakhsh, Jeeva and Rinku kept racking up tackle points and on the other hand, only Mumba's skipper Fazel Atrachali was able to score tackle points.
Deshwal raced to a 'super-10', but the match came alive when just two minutes were remaining on the clock. Trailing 21-27, Fazel and Sandeep Narwal put in brutal tackles and were well-aided by Arjun Deshwal, who continued to run merry in the offense. The gap was now of one point.
Just when Mumba looked like drawing the game, Rinku from left corner held Deshwal back with a diving ankle hold and completed a last-gasp 'super-tackle' to help Bengal clinch a three-point victory.